John Carrigan… The name synonymous with high school all-star football in Lee County.

All-star football was brought to Lee County because of John’s love of football. He had the desire to see recognition given to the players while providing his own brand of support and fund raising for the service organization coordinating the events. Each year the money raised has gone to support various programs and scholarships which would otherwise not be available.

Carrigan’s involvement with sports began in 1941. After service in the Marine Corps, he entered the University of Maryland, where he obtained his degree in education. While a teacher in the Baltimore school system, he officiated at football, baseball and basketball games.

The original game of Lee County All-Star Football still tagged as “North vs. South,” was the first county-wide organized game in the state of Florida. Under the auspices of a local service organization, the first all-star game was a daytime event held over the school holiday. Because of poor attendance, subsequent games have been held in the evening before holiday vacation and attendance continues to grow. Since that first all-star game in 1989, many other counties have begun their own all-star programs.

Rotary Club of Fort Myers South is proud to be the continuing organizer of the All-Star Football Game.  Please support the advertisers and corporate sponsors. Their help and cooperation makes this game possible each year.

Here’s what the game means to the coaches. Shortly after the game one year, Carrigan received a letter from a coach. Following are selected excerpts:

  • “You have given all of us so very much we could never repay you. I think there is no person… who does as much for Lee County football as you.”
  • “Three years after you started the game we have three playoff teams and six of the eight schools have winning records. That is no accident. Your presence has been felt.”
  • “But more than that, I thank you for those three dogs who will bring new life to someone in the future.” (The coach was referring to a photo of three seeing eye puppies which appeared on the cover of the game program.)